Momentum halted, Giants fall to D'Backs 7-2


Momentum halted, Giants fall to D'Backs 7-2

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Justifiably amped up for this one, Ian Kennedy took a couple of innings to find his command and his composure.Once settled and in control, the National League's wins leader stole the momentum right back for first-place Arizona.Kennedy outdueled Tim Lincecum for his 18th victory, Paul Goldschmidt homered and singled in a run and the NL West-leading Diamondbacks beat the San Francisco Giants 7-2 on Saturday night.A night after not a lot went right for the D-backs in seeing their nine-game winning streak snapped, they bounced back and kept the pressure on the reigning World Series champion Giants."We won two out of three here last time," Kennedy said. "Winning at anybody's place you get confidence. You don't want to think negatively not to get swept. Every series you want to win. Coming into their yard, it's going to be tough playing them."Aaron Hill and Gerardo Parra each hit RBI doubles as Arizona extended its division lead again to six games after losing the series opener 6-2. San Francisco figures it must win Sunday's series finale to keep alive any chance of defending the division crown and returning to the playoffs.Kennedy (18-4) became the NL's first 18-game winner and has victories in his last three starts. He allowed one run on five hits in seven innings, struck out six and walked two."Whenever I hear 18 wins, I think of a good bullpen and a good offensive team, timely hitting, really," Kennedy said.The Giants managed only a pair of sacrifice flies by Pablo Sandoval to back Lincecum (12-12).What had been billed as a marquee pitching matchup of staff aces looked to be just that in the early innings.Then Arizona's hitters began to find a groove against Lincecum, the two-time NL Cy Young winner handed his career-high 12th loss. The ace has lost his last two starts - with an 11.33 ERA over those two outings - and two of three."He just made some mistakes," manager Bruce Bochy said. "I thought he came out with good stuff and lost his command. They took advantage of it and kept chipping away at him. I think long innings were catching up with him. ... We just couldn't get a big hit to do some damage there. They got them and we didn't."Hill's second double of the game in the third made it 1-0. The ball died coming off the wall in left rather than rebounding and it fooled Pat Burrell, who later came out of the game with soreness in his troublesome right foot that caused him to miss 43 games on the disabled list. It's something Burrell has said he will deal with this month while he tries to play through the pain.San Francisco answered in the bottom half of the third on Sandoval's first sacrifice fly.Goldschmidt connected for his sixth home run in the fourth to put the D-backs ahead for good, then hit an RBI single in the fifth."His pitch count kind of got up," Goldschmidt said. "He's so good, you just have to try to capitalize on any mistakes you get, and if he falls behind try to make it hurt."Lincecum allowed back-to-back two-out walks to Justin Upton and Miguel Montero in the fifth, then received a mound visit from pitching coach Dave Righetti before Goldschmidt's single.Montero later extended his career-best hitting streak to 12 games with a base hit in the ninth.Carlos Beltran followed up a four-hit game a night earlier - in which he hit a two-run homer and an RBI single - with three more, including a double. He also drew a walk, giving him eight straight plate appearances reaching base safely.Beltran is 17 for 31 (.548) against Arizona this season.Still, the banged-up Giants failed to string together their first three-game winning streak since July 17-19 at San Diego. They will try Sunday for their first winning home series in seven sets since taking two of three from Milwaukee from July 22-24.They haven't won a series at all in their last five since taking two of three at Florida from Aug. 12-14.So, Sunday is a must-win with 23 games to go.Arizona beat Lincecum at sold-out AT&T Park for the second time in just over a month after a win against the Freak here on Aug. 2."Of course, this is disappointing," Lincecum said. "Obviously these two games are big for us ... and them throwing something like that isn't good for anybody. Tomorrow we have to come and get them."Lincecum allowed nine hits and five runs and struck out seven in five innings, his shortest start since also going five against San Diego on July 4.He reached 200 strikeouts for the fourth straight year, joining Amos Rusie (1890-93) in New York and Hall of Famer Juan Marichal (1963-66) in San Francisco as the only Giants to do so in four consecutive seasons.But six of his nine hits allowed went for extra bases."We got him in some situations and got some key hits," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "The team responded well to last night."NOTES: Aubrey Huff's second-inning single was his 10th hit in 25 at-bats vs. Kennedy. ... Injured Giants pitchers Barry Zito (right footankle) and Brian Wilson (elbow inflammation) both threw - Zito off the mound and Wilson on flat ground. ... Unlikely All-Star Ryan Vogelsong (10-5) pitches the series finale for the Giants on Sunday trying to end a three-start skid. Daniel Hudson (14-9) takes the mound for the D-backs looking to win his third straight outing. ... The mother of severely beaten Giants fan Bryan Stow threw out the ceremonial first pitch. Ann Stow was accompanied by family members of the Santa Cruz paramedic, who was beaten outside Dodger Stadium on opening day March 31. The family received a standing ovation on "Strike Out Violence Night." Home run king Barry Bonds, who has donated money to the college fund for Stow's two young children, was at the game in support and sitting with the family. ... SS Joe Panik, San Francisco's top draft pick this year, and OF prospect Gary Brown have received two of the club's five spots for the Arizona Fall League - joining September callup Brandon Crawford.

Inactives: Raiders LG Kelechi Osemele a late scratch due to illness


Inactives: Raiders LG Kelechi Osemele a late scratch due to illness

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Raiders left guard Kelechi Osemele was questionable to play Thursday night’s game at Kansas City with a knee sprain.

His knee is doing just fine, thank you.

Even still, Osemele wasn’t ready to play. He was a late scratch due to an illness, which sapped him to the point he couldn’t go.

Osemele was listed about the Raiders inactives, announced shortly before kickoff.

That creates a huge void in the offensive line – the Raiders run best between Osemele and left tackle Donald Penn – that will be filled by rookie Vadal Alexander.

Alexander is an aggressive player and a good run blocker, but he isn’t on Osemele’s level. Not having the high-priced player could hinder the Raiders offensive line, which must remain strong for the attack to operate well. The Raiders have allowed a league-low 13 sacks this season. 

Defensive tackle Darius Latham was questionable with an ankle injury, but wasn’t quite ready to play this game. This marks his second contest missed with injury.

Strong safety Karl Joseph was ruled out earlier in the week with a toe injury. Cornerback Antonio Hamilton, Shilique Calhoun, Connor Cook and Stacy McGee are also inactive.

Top pick Meier 'real close' to making Sharks debut


Top pick Meier 'real close' to making Sharks debut

SAN JOSE – Struggling to score goals lately with two or fewer in eight of their last 11 games, the Sharks may soon turn to their biggest prospect to try and give the offense a boost.

Timo Meier, the ninth overall pick from the 2015 draft, is tearing up the American Hockey League lately with the Barracuda. He scored four goals (and registered 15 shots) in two games in San Antonio over the weekend, has eight points (5g, 3a) in his last four games, and leads the Barracuda with eight goals.

On Thursday, Pete DeBoer was asked what he’s heard about Meier lately and how close he may be.

“Good things, and real close,” DeBoer said. “I think he would have been even a consideration [Wednesday], but he came down I think with the flu. 

“You feel for him because we’re looking to bring some guys in, and he obviously had a great weekend. He’s one of quite a few guys down there that we feel real comfortable can come in here and are going to help us before the year ends, for sure.”

It’s the second time an illness has affected Meier’s status, as he came down with mononucleosis early in training camp and missed a month of action. He did, however, return to Barracuda practice this week.

One month ago, Barracuda coach Roy Sommer told CSN that Meier had to make some adjustments coming out of juniors. 

“He’s just has to simplify his game,” Sommer said on Nov. 9. “I think he’s just trying to do too much. He’s got to be north-south, and [forget] this circling and trying to put pucks through people. … It’s not going to work.”

Apparently, Meier has figured it out. On Tuesday, Sommer told The Gackle Report: “He’s getting better every game. At the start, I was going, oh man, he’s all over the map, circling and not using his teammates. But shoot, now he just keeps producing.”

“We’ve spent a lot of time with him on video and he picks stuff up.”

The 2015 draft has already produced several players that are regular contributors for their respective clubs, led by Connor McDavid (Edmonton), Jack Eichel (Buffalo), Mitch Marner (Toronto) and Zach Werenski (Columbus). 

Meier is the only player among the top 11 picks that year that has yet to play an NHL game, while 17 of 30 of the players overall chosen in the first round have played at least one NHL game.